90% of Korean teenagers belong to the virtual world of Cyworld, the iPhone cometh, whilst blyk creates enormous speculation, MyNuMo is redefining the rules of commerce on the mobile platform and Admob have sold over 3billion ads on the mobile platform in just under 14months. Cash generation is not the issue for Admob, the issue is what to do with the money. American teens who have used both, say Cyworld is MySpace two years into the future. Who owns Cyworld? SK Telecom. Whilst we have Vodafone Live. Hardly compares does it?
Interestingly enough, I think that what all these businesses represent is the grassroots of a new media ecology, one that is part of a revolution that is sweeping aside the blockbuster economics of the mass media, unplugging consumers from interruptive communications, and traditional notions of consumption. And where we all play a more intimate and meaningful role. Just think about it, three times as many mobile devices in the world vs TV sets - nearly. Hands up class, does that represent a new media platform? Does it represent a different media ecology where the rules are different? If that is indeed so, why on earth then do brands and even operators insist that they sell mobile like baked beans.
For those that wish for some focus and perhaps a little clarity - the mobile is the 7th Mass Media is as profound as Gutenberg inventing moveable type. As profound as the industrial revolution. And yet, and yet, I hear people say - Yeah but in the UK marketers are justing starting to understand the internet let alone the mobile. Well my answer to that is don't these people read? Are there not supposed to be heads of insight and stuff?
I remember suggesting to the CEO of the Johnston Press a couple of years ago that putting a digital and mobile strategy at the heart of his business might be a good idea. The man shook my hand and said goodbye, today the Johnston Press is struggling in our new digital universe, whilst Admob are frankly coining it in. Homer Simpson where are you? Dooohh. Mothercare? HMV? all the same.
Although to be honest I presented to a large fizzy drinks brand a while ago and I did a little test. I asked if they knew what blogs, RSS feeds, widgets, citizen journalism, wikipedia were. it was I think 1 out of 5. And I am being kind. Though they did snatch my presentation and ran out the room, and never answered my phonce calls after that. I guess I have been lucky in my collaboration with Tomi, my experience of working and living in Finland in the early 90's, the work I have done with Nokia, and my own personal thirst for knowledge has allowed me to take a view that mobile is the 7th Mass Media.
Up until very recently, mobile was seen, and in fact is very still seen as well just the mobile, divorced from, and, having no relation to the other very important mass media. But in fact mobile is part of an historical process that stretches back to the 1400's. However the mobile is a sister of the anarchic internet. Our famiiar mass media analogue world is pretty much gone. Gutenberg brought us the first mass media - Print, then we had Recordings, Cinema, Radio, Televsion, the Internet and now the 7th Mobile. And consider this there are 3 times as many mobile phones in the world as there are TV sets. Surely we have to accept TV is no longer the hostess with the mostess.
So don't ignore mobile, and don't do as too many other companies have done – ignore a technological revolution, they do have a nasty tendency to come and bite you where the sun don't shine as Forest Gump famously said. I suggest have a read and then make you own mind up.
SMLXL has produced a whitepaper on Mobile as the 7th of the Mass Media. If you would like a free copy please leave a comment here or email me alanm (AT) smlxtralarge (DOT) com